ENERGY CONSERVATION is a series of small actions leading to a significant result. A WATT saved is a WATT made!

Energy conservation is fundamental if you intend to boondock. As you probably know by now, the power source of recreational vehicles originates from the rechargeable batteries.

The fastest you consume that energy banked in your batteries, running many appliances at the same time, the less time you will be self-sufficient in energy.

Constantly monitoring the battery charge is important.

With energy conservation, you will have less worry to replenish the rechargeable batteries. Less recharging equipment will be needed.

If you intend to boondock, it is also important to have a battery bank properly sized to your needs .

This is the whole idea of 'BOONDOCKING'!

Conserving energy will help you considerably to extend the duration of your dry camping stay without replenishing the battery charge.

Managing your water consumption is also extremely important.



Be aware of the demand in electricity or load draw of each electrical item used in your RV. This information on the consumption in watts or amps is available from the spec sheet accompanying the appliance when you bought it.

Yes! This is the one piece of info you probably threw away after you opened the box. No worry, the info is most likely written on the the item itself.

Be aware that an air conditioner, a microwave oven or a hair dryer drain batteries very quickly. For energy conservation, you have to use them very sparingly or with a direct source like a rv generator


In general, limit the use of appliances using AC current. An inverter is only 80 % efficient.

This means that the inverter drains 100 units of energy power from your batteries to transform it to 80 units of AC power, 20% loss in energy conservation.

It is also a good idea for conserving energy to turn the inverter off when not using AC appliances since it has a phantom load.

This means it may consume 2 amps per hour just keeping it on. It is then not rare to consume 40 amps of battery power daily for no real use.

Keeping the inverter off until you need it to get an AC appliance running is a good advice in energy conservation. You may install an on/off switch.


Buy small portable accessories with their own batteries ex. reading lamp, radio, laptop etc...

If these items have rechargeable batteries, recharge them every time you are driving in connecting them to a portable inverter itself plugged into the lighter outlet of your vehicle.


When you have appliances that function either using electricity or propane gas (LP), switching them to LP is a good practice in energy conservation. The refrigerator should be run on propane.

The propane tank and its connections have to be checked for leaks on a regular basis.

Every use that requires heat should be switched to gas. In making coffee, do not use an electric coffee maker but buy instead something to be used on the gas burner.

Keep in mind that if you plan 'boondocking' for extended stays in one location, a good size propane tank is necessary.


In this same vein, the use of the furnace to heat the RV and the water heater to get hot water (for showers and washing dishes) should be switched to LP gas.

However, notice that there is an inconvenience of using the regular furnace installed in an RV due to its consumption of energy.

The furnace can work on propane but its blower uses quite a bit of electricity itself.

Their consumption in propane is not that efficient as well. A good alternative in conserving energy is the installation of a radiant heater , catalytic or open flame heater still using propane but more efficiently without a fan.


If you use a laptop like most RVers do, run it on its internal batteries and recharge it by itself later, keeping it off.

The idea of using the software having the laptop plugged in, recharging its batteries, will consume three times more energy that way. The difference is amazing.


Keep in mind that smaller inverters draw fewer amps to run. It is very important to check the load draw of the device you want to buy.

Do not use a 2000 watt inverter to charge a laptop or an electric toothbrush if you could do it with a 150 watt unit.

The smaller one may draw 0.4 amp compare to 2.0 amps for the bigger inverter getting the same result at the end.

Have two inverters, a small and bigger unit.


When you are charging electrical items having the inverter on, charge more than one object at the same time. (laptop, camera batteries, cell phone etc...)


Keep in mind that many common items are now designed to use sun energy. Portable radios or sun ovens are examples.

Bake, boil or steam any kind of food with the power of the sun.

No fuel needed! This is a perfect example of energy conservation.

Check with Sun Ovens International and the Solar Oven Society


Unplug AC or DC appliances while not in use since they can have a dead load and reduce the charge of your rv batteries even if not in use.

The clock on the microwave or the television set will drain power. You can install on/off switches on the lines.

Be careful not turning off safety items like CO sensors, propane leak detectors, alarm system etc..


Use lights only when needed. The more lights on, the more energy you have to replace. A standard light will draw about 1.5 amps, lights with two bulbs 3 amps, fluorescent lights about 1.5 to 2 amps.

Replace all incandescent light fixtures with high-efficiency compact fluorescent lights. Both Sunray and Thinlite make 12-volt high quality fluorescent lights.

Halogen lights are very power efficient (1/2 of incandescent lighting) and produce excellent white light for reading.

Use oil lamps at night with no smoke oil. You can use them inside or outside on a hook.

It may not be sufficient light to read but it provides this very enjoyable romantic atmosphere having a drink in good company while conserving energy.


Never travel having the refrigerator ON. This would have the double benefit of conserving your electric power or protect you in case of accident if used on propane, eliminating the hazard of an explosion and/or fire.

The refrigerator being well insulated, your food will not be affected if you keep the door closed during the trip. When stopping for lunch, just turn the fridge on for an hour and it will help keeping the food cool.


Use adequate cables for all 12 volt DC wiring in order to limit the voltage drop in connecting your set of house batteries, solar panels or your inverter.

Use the largest cable that is convenient to work with (#6 ideally #4 ) Keep the wiring as short as possible.


You probably have yourself many other conservation tips to share.

OTHER TOPICS ( 4 total ) directly related to BOONDOCKING

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